SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims her local leadership refused to re-issue her and her husband temple recommends because she chooses to breastfeed uncovered in the church foyer.
Her daughter is about a year and a half old, and this mom says she’s never covered her while feeding at church. She didn’t know it was an issue until she was called into her Stake President’s office. This woman has asked that we keep her identity private for this story.
She and her family of six normally sit in the foyer during Sacrament Meeting. She says there is a mother’s lounge in her church building, but because of audio connections, it simply isn’t an option for her. She says, “I can’t really get the spiritual blessings from the meeting.”
She was called into her Stake President’s office where she says he asked her to cover while feeding her baby. She said, “I basically told him that I wasn’t planning on changing the way I do it because that’s what’s comfortable for me and my daughter.”
She says the Stake President referred her to the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, and said that the issue wasn’t breastfeeding but modesty. She says that he told her any sexual desire men felt because she was exposed was her fault and was a sin. When she still refused to agree to cover, she said, “He told me that he wasn’t going to finish the temple recommend process because I refused to adhere to his counseling.”
She says he then spoke to her husband and gave him an ultimatum. “He told him that either you support your wife and you don’t get your temple recommend, or you support your religion and you do get your temple recommend.”
She says, “There is no clear policy on breastfeeding in church, whether it’s covered or uncovered or in the mother’s room.”
She said that she left the experience with even more resolve to breastfeed the way she and her child are most comfortable. Speaking of breasts, she said, “They aren’t put on our bodies for men. There is no reason for me to hide, this is a normal, natural thing and it should be viewed that way.”
The mom says that she will be meeting with the General Relief Society President about the matter soon.
We reached out the LDS Church multiple times for this story, but they declined to comment.